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Bitcasa Users Told to Buy Time to Remove Data

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) - A man who sued a cloud-storage service for ending its unlimited data storage plan is getting what he asked for - kind of.

Shawn Romack filed a class action suit against Bitcasa last week, less than a month after the company announced it would end its "Infinite" storage plan. The man claims that Bitcasa breached its contract with users by forcing them to either accept a new, more expensive plan by Nov. 15 or to start deleting their data.

But Bitcasa only gave customers 23 days to delete their data before it did so for them - an announcement that prompted Romack's request for an injunction, since he claims to have about 8 terabytes to remove.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup granted the temporary restraining order last week, barring Bitcasa from deleting anybody's data until at least Nov. 20. But Alsup also reminded Romack that no class had yet been certified.

Romack reported to the court on Nov. 18 that he had removed just two to three of his nearly 7.7 terabytes of data in five days with his computer running "virtually 24/7."

According to Bitcasa, 7.7 terabytes is enough to store 1.6 million songs, 2.7 million photos, or 4,000 high-definition movies.

In a ruling issued Wednesday, Alsup narrowed the scope of the Romack's "vast injunction" request by holding that the man can get individual relief from Bitcasa's deletion only if he pays another $99 for a one-month extension under a new data plan. That way, he'll have time to download his data, Alsup said.

If Romack chooses that route, the court can make a decision later regarding money and whether the company owes Romack a refund, Alsup added.

"Money damages will solve this problem, if there is one," he wrote.

The judge also ruled that Romack did not show evidence that a classwide injunction is needed.

"The certification question remains for another day," he wrote. "Putative class members, of course, can pay $99 for a one-month extension as well."

However, Alsup also noted that Bitcasa's lawyers couldn't promise that if Romack pays for the extension, his data wouldn't be lost in a "migration process." So he ordered the company to preserve and help migrate Romack's files if the man pays the $99 fee.

In a separate order, the judge denied Bitcasa's request to seal documents with information about the data and statistics the company collects and how much it pays to rent servers from Amazon Web Services.

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